2011 Contest Summary

The 2011 Richard A. Clarke
National Scholarly Monograph Contest

In commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the Center for First Amendment Studies in conjunction with 911plus.org, launched a national graduate student monograph contest in April of 2011. The contest honored Richard A. Clarke, the author of the 2007 book Against All Enemies, and a national terrorism advisor to three US presidents, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. It was funded by L.A. businessman Steven C. Markoff.

The goal of the contest was to analyze the information leading up to 9/11, the United States’ subsequent invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan, and related government decisions and actions in order to provide thoughtful analysis and public policy recommendations by answering the following 2 questions:

1. What lessons have we learned from 9/11?
2. Given the lessons learned, what policy changes would make America more secure?

The contest ended with three graduate students, (click on a name for a link to a PDF of the essay):
Sara Moller
Dimitar Georgiev
Jennifer L. Freer
receiving the top scholarships of $20,000, $10,000, and $5,000.

Announcement of Winners – Sept. 2, 2011 – Center for First Amendment Studies Announces Winners of National Monograph Contest Commemorating 10th Anniversary of 9/11

Winning Essays

  1. “Lessons Learned and Unlearned: The Tenth Anniversary of September 11, 2001”
    Sara Moller, of the Department of Political Science at Columbia University—First Place Winner
  2. “Failure of American Strategic Thought and 9/11”
    Dimitar Georgiev, of the Security Studies Program at Georgetown University—Second Prize Winner
  3. “The Patriot Act and the Public Library: An Unanticipated Threat to National Security”
    Jennifer L. Freer, of the Department of Communication at the Rochester Institute of Technology—Third Prize Winner


“We conducted this contest for several reasons. First, with a decade of distance from the events of 9/11, we now possess some perspective on them. Second, given that 911plus.org and the Center for First Amendment Studies had amassed research relevant to the crisis, we hoped the contest would encourage students to visit our web sites and explore our collected research and publications. Finally, I have done a good deal of research on what happens to civil liberties in America when we face external and internal threat to our security. These rights include privacy, freedom of speech, press, religion and the right to assembly peaceably and petition the government with grievances. The Alien and Sedition crisis of 1796 to 1800 was fomented by the threat of war with France, which had sunk over 300 American merchant vessels by 1798 and sent “philosophes” to America to promote revolution here. In reaction, the Congress passed and the president signed the Alien and Sedition Laws, clear violations of the First Amendment. They extended the time it took to become a citizen, allowed the jailing of newspaper editors and politicians who criticized the Congress or the president, and gave the president extraordinary powers to deport trouble makers.

During the Civil War, President Lincoln suspended habeas corpus several times and was only overturned after his death and when the war had ended. During the Red Scare following World War I, thousands of American citizens were incarcerated when Communists and anarchists threatened the post-war peace. During World War II, thousands of Japanese-Americans were interred in camps against their will even though they were citizens of the United States. During the McCarthy era, Hollywood writers, directors and actors were black listed by the establishment; at the same time professors who took the Fifth Amendment defense against self-incrimination were fired. During the Vietnam War, the government engaged in various strategies of suppression that led the Supreme Court to allow the printing of the Pentagon Papers. And following the attacks of 9/11, not only First Amendment rights but the right to privacy was constricted by the USA PATRIOT ACT and the creation of the Department of Homeland Security. (These crises are detailed in my book, Silencing the Opposition: How the U.S. Government Suppresses Freedom of Expression During Major Crises.)

September 11, 2001 will always be a watershed date in our history, much in the way the attack on Pearl Harbor was. Almost 3000 lives were lost as two huge land mark buildings sank to the city floor of Manhattan, as United 93 was re-taken from its hijackers and crashed in Pennsylvania, and as the Pentagon suffered a wound to its side. We now think of ourselves as more vulnerable and less impregnable than before. We see the world less as a conglomeration of nations and more as a global interactive stew of elements, some of which know no national boundaries, are hostile to the United States and its interests, and contain major threats to our national security. As in other crises involving an external threat to national security, the attacks of 9/11 led to major legislation, the most important of which was “The Uniting and Strengthening of America by Providing Appropriate Tools Required to Intercept and Obstruct Terrorism Act,” better known as the USA PATRIOT Act signed by President Bush on October 26, 2001.

The three winning monographs from our contest are heavily documented and sometimes relying on the cache of materials provided on the 911plus.org web site.

The first place study by Sarah Bjerg Moller, a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Political Science at Columbia University, is ambitious in its comprehensive examination of the policies flowing from the crisis of 9/11. It is entitled, Lessons Learned and Unlearned: The Tenth Anniversary of September 11, 2001. Ms. Moller sees 9/11 as a crisis comparable to other history shifting events such as the treaty Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain signed with Adolph Hitler in Munich in 1938. But she is wise enough to point out that sometimes the lesson drawn from such crises are not consistent. Ms. Moller demonstrates a deft understanding of the rhetorical uses of such crises as when President George W. Bush cited the failed policy of appeasement and the ghosts of Vietnam to justify his pre-emptive war in Iraq in 2003. Her important intuition is that we should “not be consumed by our history.”

She not only addresses the lessons learned but concludes with important policy recommendations. Her sober assessment notes that while we are wiser and safer than in 2001, we still face serious threats both foreign and domestic. Her commentary on interagency communication and cooperation is insightful and troubling. She begins her assessment of this challenge by examining where these agencies stood before 9/11 and how they missed certain clues as to what was about to happen. For example, “the CIA failed to place the names of [a known terrorist’s] traveling companions on the State Department’s TIPPOFF watch list or notify the FBI of these developments.”

Craig R. Smith, Director of The Center for First Amendment Studies at California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), 9/14/2011


Media reports of the contest, around the 9/14/2011 ceremony in Washington, DC, include:

10/3/2011 – Online article from InsideCSULB about the 9/11 contest results
9/12/2011 – Article on the Georgetown University website about the first and second place finishers
Other media mentions include the Cal State Long Beach newspaper and the Henrietta Post about the third place finisher


“My profound thanks to:

Richard A. Clarke for his tireless passion in helping our country better our national security. He has been an invaluable advisor to our presidents and he continues to publish books and give talks which help keep America safer,
Professor Craig Smith and his Center for First Amendment Studies at California State University, Long Beach. Professor Smith and his Center have done a wonderful job designing and conducting the 2011 Richad A. Clarke National Scholarly Monograph contest,
Congressman Rob Andrews for supporting the contest in Washington, DC, and for his ongoing efforts to make our country safer,
Steven Gaskin for his tremendous effort over three years of conscientiously going through over 100 published books, line by line, and other media and proposing to and defending his choices with me, the product of which has substantially become the 911plus.org database,
The many graduate students and their advisors that understood the significant of the issues involved in the contest, and who spent their time and energy working through the contest rules and submitting their papers,
Gary Prebula, Marcus Hirn, Kamy Akhavan, Leslie Lowell, Jennah Dirksen, Susan Ley, Mike Daly, Hope Light, Joan Bien, Frank Antonoff and others who have all contributed to the contest and 911plus.org database in various ways.”

Steven C. Markoff, 9/11/2011


This contest is limited (eligibility) solely to graduate students in good standing in master’s and doctoral programs at accredited American universities in the United States or its territories. The Contest will exclude graduate students from the Communication Studies Department at California State University, Long Beach.

  1. The submitted monographs shall address the questions:
    a. What lessons have we learned from 9/11?
    b. Given the lessons learned, what policy changes would make America more secure?
  2. The submitted monographs must be original scholarly works by a single author, in English. The submitted monographs must not have been published elsewhere. The unauthorized, uncited use, or close imitation of the language of another author and the representation of it as the entrant’s own work may result in disqualification. The Contest sponsors shall not be held liable for an entrant’s violation of any third party including, but not limited to, copyright, trademark, patent infringement, or defamation. Entrants must have full ownership rights of their submitted work.
  3. No author may submit more than one monograph.
  4. Each monograph will be blinded and then assessed by a panel of qualified judges using the following criteria:
    a. Scholarly merit, objectivity, and accuracy.
    b. Quality of evidence and sources.
    c. Adherence to The Contest Rules.
    d. Grammar, punctuation, spelling.
    e. Quality of arguments.
    f. Depth of analysis.
    g. Significance of policy suggestions for the future.
  5. A total of $35,000 in scholarship money will be awarded:
    a. First place: $20,000
    b. Second place: $10,000
    c. Third place: $5,000
  6. The decision of the judges is final and not subject to appeal.
  7. A searchable database of over 5,000 sourced quotations from over 100 published books, publications, and other media has been provided at 911plus.org for use of entrants; however, entrants are encouraged to use other sources to supplement their research.
  8. Graduate students should feel free to discuss their project with their university advisors. We encourage using submitted monographs as a basis for the submitter’s thesis or dissertation.
  9. The top three monographs will be published online by The Center for First Amendment Studies and 911plus.org. The Center for First Amendment Studies and 911plus.org shall share copyrights with the authors of all monographs submitted in connection with The Contest.
  10. Winner will be required to provide final revised versions of their monographs submitted in connection with The Contest.
  11. Steps in the submission process:
    a. Obtain a signed letter from your department chair or dean certifying that you are a graduate student in good standing in the Spring semester of 2011 at your university (graduate students may be in either Master’s or Doctoral programs). Send the letter with a note indicating that you intend to participate in The Contest. Mail your note and letter from your chair or dean by June 1, 2011 to:

    The Richard A. Clarke National Scholarly Monograph Contest
    Center for the First Amendment Studies
    AS 304
    California State University
    Long Beach, CA 90840-2007

    b. Write your monograph in Times New Roman, Font 12, with one-inch margins, and double spacing throughout, including block quotations and endnotes.
    c. Do not use a running head; number pages in single Arabic numerals at the bottom center of each page.
    d. Use the Chicago Manual Style, 15th edition or later, as your guide regarding all matters of form and style. Monographs are not to exceed 50 double-spaced pages (8 ½ x 11″) including cover page, endnotes, graphs, charts, and all other material (scholarly monographs are normally 20 to 40 pages in length in draft form).
    e. Number the cover page as page one of the monograph and include the title of the monograph (bold and underlined), your name, major and university, mailing address, e-mail address, and contact phone number. At the bottom of the cover page, include the following sentence, “I pledge that the following monograph is an original work and mine alone,” followed by the date and your signature. (Do not identify yourself at any other place in the monograph since the cover page will be removed for the blinded review by the judges.)
  12. Send two hard copies of your monograph to:The Richard A. Clarke National Scholarly Monograph Contest
    Center for the First Amendment Studies
    AS 304
    California State University
    Long Beach, CA 90840-2007
  13. Monographs must be received by The Center for First Amendment Studies by August 1, 2011 to be eligible for consideration. Submitted monographs will not be returned. Submissions received after August 1, 2011 will not be opened.